Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 08 Nov '10 15:30
    I was looking at some statistics on gapminder.org and it struck me that the US has an uncharacteristically high traffic mortality rate compared to other rich countries. Most rich developed countries have a rate of around 4-8 deaths per 100,000 citizens per year, but the US is at around 13 deaths per 100,000 citizens (on par with countries such as Mexico, Turkey and Poland). If the US could improve road safety to the best-performing ones around 25,000 American lives would be saved per year.

    What is the reason for poor road safety in the US? Should anything be done against it, if so what? Or is it just a statistical anomaly?
  2. 08 Nov '10 15:42
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I was looking at some statistics on gapminder.org and it struck me that the US has an uncharacteristically high traffic mortality rate compared to other rich countries. Most rich developed countries have a rate of around 4-8 deaths per 100,000 citizens per year, but the US is at around 13 deaths per 100,000 citizens (on par with countries such as Mexico ...[text shortened]... in the US? Should anything be done against it, if so what? Or is it just a statistical anomaly?
    Do you have the full list of countries and their resp road mortality?
  3. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    08 Nov '10 15:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I was looking at some statistics on gapminder.org and it struck me that the US has an uncharacteristically high traffic mortality rate compared to other rich countries. Most rich developed countries have a rate of around 4-8 deaths per 100,000 citizens per year, but the US is at around 13 deaths per 100,000 citizens (on par with countries such as Mexico ...[text shortened]... in the US? Should anything be done against it, if so what? Or is it just a statistical anomaly?
    It's probably just a function of more drivers. With more open space and lower population densities, more people living geographically father away from their work and extended families, people just drive more. That's why the inter-city train system (and even commuter trains in many metro areas) is underdeveloped here. People just like to drive. It's more convenient and the roads system is very well developed.

    Outside of the megalopolis (Boston to Washington), if you want to travel from city to city, by and large, you either fly or drive. If you want to travel short distances, you drive.
  4. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    08 Nov '10 15:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's probably just a function of more drivers. With more open space and lower population densities, more people living geographically father away from their work and extended families, people just drive more. That's why the inter-city train system (and even commuter trains in many metro areas) is underdeveloped here. People just like to drive. It's more conveni ...[text shortened]... ity, by and large, you either fly or drive. If you want to travel short distances, you drive.
    I don't know if you also meant it, but I imagine the big, big difference is the number of miles driven not the density of drivers. I don't know the stats, though, so I could be talking out of my commonfolk.
  5. 08 Nov '10 15:56 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's probably just a function of more drivers. With more open space and more people living geographically father away from their work and extended families, people just drive more. That's why the inter-city train system (and even commuter trains in many metro areas) is underdeveloped here. People just like to drive. It's more convenient and the roads system is very well developed.
    It's also a function of the type of communities we build -- separate single-family housing on large plots of land in areas zoned only for residential use - so most people are required to drive to carry out even the most basic errands. This in turn reflects government policies that provide tax incentives to homeowners -

    Another factor is that people can drive on most roads toll-free, while they have to pay every time they use mass transportation. If you had to pay every time you used the roads and could use mass-transportation toll-free, I bet that people would suddenly find they "like" using mass-transportation.

    And I remember when I was in Denmark, I saw that there was this bike path alongside the highway to Copenhagen and I realized I could easily just ride the bike 20 miles all the way to Copehagen. Now imagine you're 20 miles from New York City and you wanted to bike into the city...
  6. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    08 Nov '10 16:00
    Originally posted by Palynka
    I don't know if you also meant it, but I imagine the big, big difference is the number of miles driven not the density of drivers. I don't know the stats, though, so I could be talking out of my commonfolk.


    Honestly, did you mean the double entendre with "density of drivers"?

    If so, I am duly impressed.
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    08 Nov '10 16:01
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    It's also a function of the type of communities we build -- separate single-family housing on large plots of land in areas zoned only for residential use - so most people are required to drive to carry out even the most basic errands. This in turn reflects government policies that provide tax incentives to homeowners -

    Another factor is that people ca ...[text shortened]... agen. Now imagine you're 20 miles from New York City and you wanted to bike into the city...
    I live about 25 mi from NYC. People do bike it, though you're right that it's not very easy or convenient.
  8. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    08 Nov '10 16:03
    Originally posted by sh76


    Honestly, did you mean the double entendre with "density of drivers"?

    If so, I am duly impressed.
    LOL, no I didn't.

    Freudian slip?
  9. 08 Nov '10 16:09
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's probably just a function of more drivers. With more open space and lower population densities, more people living geographically father away from their work and extended families, people just drive more. That's why the inter-city train system (and even commuter trains in many metro areas) is underdeveloped here. People just like to drive. It's more conveni ...[text shortened]... ity, by and large, you either fly or drive. If you want to travel short distances, you drive.
    I suppose this is a factor. But Canada has a figure of 8.3 per 100,000. I'm not sure how many Canadians live in rural areas rather than the big metropolitan areas, though. It would be nice if someone can dig up an average number of miles driven per capita so we could correct for this.
  10. 08 Nov '10 16:16 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    I live about 25 mi from NYC. People do bike it, though you're right that it's not very easy or convenient.
    I also live about 25 miles from NYC.

    I was so amazed that when I realized how easily you could bike to Copenhagen - or pretty much anywhere else -- because there were bike paths along the main roads.

    Most of the main roads around here in New Jersey - you'd have to be nuts to ride a bike on them -- occasionally, you see someone doing it, and it just confirms my opinion about the nuttiness of the venture.

    These cyclists are one cell-phone-using-driver (perhaps that Mayhem guy from All-State) from a disaster. Meanwhile, the drivers have to worry about passing a cyclist and hope there's no driver coming the other way at that moment.
  11. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    08 Nov '10 16:33
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I suppose this is a factor. But Canada has a figure of 8.3 per 100,000. I'm not sure how many Canadians live in rural areas rather than the big metropolitan areas, though. It would be nice if someone can dig up an average number of miles driven per capita so we could correct for this.
    2003 figures are on the 3rd graph here: http://biurchametz.blogspot.com/2005/09/roadkill-myths-ii-israel-is-worse-than.html

    People drive about twice as many miles per capita here then in most other industrialized countries; fatalities rate per kilometer driven was about the same in 2003 in the US and Canada.
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    08 Nov '10 16:35 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I suppose this is a factor. But Canada has a figure of 8.3 per 100,000. I'm not sure how many Canadians live in rural areas rather than the big metropolitan areas, though. It would be nice if someone can dig up an average number of miles driven per capita so we could correct for this.
    For the US, I found this chart:

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_CQyU4ayBifw/SDxDgA7R3pI/AAAAAAAAA9g/m-Vm8V27_uo/s1600-h/shooting+in+foot.JPG

    Assuming it's correct, that's about 3 trillion miles traveled in all, which rounds to a shade under 10,000 miles per person. This figure does seem a bit high, when taking into account all the urban people who don't own cars; but there you have it.

    I can't find the numbers for Canada and Europe (though I'm sure they're out there).

    However, I would posit that the number of traffic deaths in any context other than per miles driven is irrelevant and that "per citizen" is an exceptionally poor metric (I'm sure those numbers would tell you that sub Saharan Africa have exceptionally safe roads).

    Edit: No1's link sort of blows up this thread. Oh well.
  13. 08 Nov '10 16:43 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    2003 figures are on the 3rd graph here: http://biurchametz.blogspot.com/2005/09/roadkill-myths-ii-israel-is-worse-than.html

    People drive about twice as many miles per capita here then in most other industrialized countries; fatalities rate per kilometer driven was about the same in 2003 in the US and Canada.
    Thanks for that. So considering the number of miles driven (assuming there was no major shift in trend from 2003) the US does not do so bad at all, though not quite as good as Finland (though that may be a cultural thing as well, when I lived there I noticed the drivers were extremely polite and even cab drivers were not speeding).

    So that answers the OP then - statistical anomaly!
  14. 08 Nov '10 16:49
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Thanks for that. So considering the number of miles driven (assuming there was no major shift in trend from 2003) the US does not do so bad at all, though not quite as good as Finland (though that may be a cultural thing as well, when I lived there I noticed the drivers were extremely polite and even cab drivers were not speeding).

    So that answers the OP then - statistical anomaly!
    Wow. So for once, we have actually resolved an issue for discussion!
  15. 08 Nov '10 17:01
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    I was looking at some statistics on gapminder.org and it struck me that the US has an uncharacteristically high traffic mortality rate compared to other rich countries. Most rich developed countries have a rate of around 4-8 deaths per 100,000 citizens per year, but the US is at around 13 deaths per 100,000 citizens (on par with countries such as Mexico ...[text shortened]... in the US? Should anything be done against it, if so what? Or is it just a statistical anomaly?
    Maybe because large cars are more popular.

    http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html

    ''An average SUV or a pickup is more than twice as likely as a car to kill the driver of the other vehicle in a collision, and an SUV is four times as likely to roll over in an accident.''

    and

    ''Big pickups kill even more than SUV's. When the average large pickup truck collides with a second vehicle, people in the second vehicle die at a rate of 293 for every 100,000 crashes, according to federal crash statistics. By comparison, large sport utility vehicles kill people in the second vehicle at a rate of 205 per 100,000 crashes; minivans kill at a rate of 104 deaths; and large cars at a rate of 85 deaths.''